Apple, Samsung fight heads to Supreme Court

Apple, Samsung fight heads to Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday in a long-running patent case between Samsung and Apple.

For years the two companies have been locked in a battle over claims that Samsung infringed on some of Apple’s iPhone patents while making its own smartphones.

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A jury ruled in 2012 that Samsung had violated Apple’s patents and awarded the Cupertino-based iPhone maker damages of more than $1 billion. The jury ruled that Samsung copied design elements, including the grid of icons for applications and parts of the phone's face.

That award was later lowered to roughly $548 million, and Samsung agreed provisionally to pay Apple those damages in December. Tuesday's arguments will center on whether Samsung should be on the hook for that full amount.

The jury calculated damages based on all profits from Samsung phones that used the contested patents. But the South Korean company says damages should be calculated based only on the profits from the contested patents, not the entire phone.

Samsung is arguing it should not be responsible for paying $399 million of the more than $500 million in damages.

Apple is defending the full damage amount. The company declined to comment ahead of the arguments.

"We look forward to the Supreme Court’s guidance on a very important matter that has the potential to stifle innovation and consumer choice," a Samsung spokesperson said in a statement on Monday. "Samsung is honored to lead the charge in helping pave the way for future innovators and foster an environment where the fear of unreasonable law suits don’t impinge upon their creativity."

The suit was first tried in 2012, and more than 10 Samsung devices are implicated in the case.

It is the first case, however, that the Supreme Court has heard on design patents in decades and is being closely watched in the technology sector. Companies like Google and Facebook have supported Samsung, while Apple has its own allies in the design world. The federal government has not formally backed a side in the case, according to CNET.